Land of the Dead

Land of the DeadJust about anyone that’s ever seen a film is familiar with his work. He single-handedly created an entire sub-genre, and he’s been recognized as a revolutionary film maker. No, I’m not talking about Stephen Spielberg, I’m talking about George Romero.
Getting his start creating commercials for light-hearted companies such as Calgon, George Romero changed the film world when he and his friends formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960’s and each chipped in $10,000 to create their first feature film, Night of the Living Dead. The film has since become an icon of not only horror films, but all genres.
Being a horror fan back in the day I was very familiar with George’s work. My favorite type of horror movies just happens to be zombie movies so to me he was the end-all in horror directors. I grew up watching his films, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, and even though there were always rumors of George’s next zombie film proof never materialized and the rumored film never surfaced. Well, you can imagine my surprise when George started showing up on the horror radar again and rumors of his next zombie film were buzzing, and this time he was confirming. The name of the film wasn’t nailed down then, but after the buzz died down George finally annouced that the film would be called Land of the Dead.
Just this last week I got a chance to see the film and while it didn’t blow my socks off, it was George through and through. One thing that I tried to avoid before seeing this movie was forming expectations. Yes, this is George Romero, but it has also been more than 20 years since the last "Dead" movie was released. Could he still pull it off, could he still produce a movie that outshines it’s brothers and sisters in horror? These were the questions I had. In many ways I guess I wanted him to prove to the world that he still had it.
I walked into the theatre with my bag of Rieces Pieces, sat down and waited impatiently through the barage of trailers, 20 it seemed, then the movie began. The credits hinted at something different from horror movies of late. Then the first images come on screen. We’re shown an empty world that shows no sign of life, a park that rather than being filled with families is filled with standing (though barely-moving), rotted corpses. The world has been infested with the zombies for many years and has since gotten used to having them there. It’s no longer a fight for survival, but rather a fight for a better quality of life.
In general I really liked this film. It doesn’t have quite the atmosphere that the other films have and there are some writing issues that I don’t quite understand. There are several times when there’s some interplay between cast members that doesn’t make sense, like one cast member winking to another for no reason. There are also some technical issues with the film, odd scene endings are just one example.
Perhaps one of the most dissapointing things about the film was the performance of the actor playing the lead zombie "Big Daddy". Dispite the fact that he was playing the leader of the zombies and was showing signs of learning basic reasoning skills, he was a little too responsive and coherent during most of the film. He just didn’t seem like a very good zombie to me at all.
So, should you see this movie? Maybe, depending on whether or not you typically like this genre of film. However, if you’re looking for the next Gone with the Wind, you might want to check out something else.

Some imagery provided by Unsplash.

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